“You can start talking about underdogs, you can talk about those things,” Hoke said. “I think when you start talking about rivalry games, I think things change a little bit too some degree. We just try to be pretty consistent.”
Consistent or not, Michigan (3-4, 12 Big Ten) will still have its handful with No .8 Michigan State (6-1, 3-0), who are looking for its sixth win in the last seven years against the Wolverines.
“Obviously, we have great respect for Michigan State,” Hoke said. “They’ve earned that from how they [become] Big Ten champions and how they played. We got a lot of work to do to go up there, and we will be prepared. And will be ready to play on Saturday.”
Michigan’s offense has become stagnate at times this season, and currently ranks 13th in the Big Ten at 340 yards per game. And the Wolverines are only rushing for 164.1 yards per game, which raises the question: can U-M play physical enough to match MSU’s defense? A Spartan defense that leads the conference with 26 sacks, and is tough against the run.
“I think we’ve played physical,” Hoke said. “At times, not as much as we liked. But I think in any football game if you’re a team, and you’re competitor, there’s got to be a physical-ness to it. Obviously, there is more emotion driven when you’re playing a rivalry game, and playing an in-state rival who is an hour and ten minutes up the road. I think more of that comes out.
“In games like this there is always high emotions. There was emotions when you talked about how we practiced last night. I would expect the same thing today. There is that emotion that is just there. Because of the feel of the game, the opponent and the rivalry part of it.”
Will find out soon enough.